Drug and alcohol addiction run rampant across the west coast, and California is no exception. While the Golden State is rich with luxury in many forms, a number of citizens spend every day in constant struggle as they battle crippling substance use disorder. When drugs and alcohol are easy to find, recovery often becomes difficult to achieve. One look at California addiction statistics is more than enough to make it clear that Californians are in need of access to quality treatment programs.
California Addiction Statistics
While the difference may not be extreme, the most recent behavioral health barometer by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration places California addiction rates above the national average. Well over 2 million Californians over the age of 12 were reported as struggling with alcohol dependence, while approximately 876,000 of those surveyed were addicted to illicit substances. Despite these high numbers, only 159,000 alcoholics and 110,000 drug addicts per year were receiving treatment at the time of the survey.
These low treatment rates have led to loss of life on a major scale. In 2015, the same year as the aforementioned health survey, there were 4,659 overdose deaths in the state of California—more than there were for any other state in the same year. While this rate is lower than it first appears when taking the state’s large population into consideration, these numbers still indicate a considerable problem that must be addressed.
Impact of Addiction on California
Substance abuse has resulted in considerable economic losses for the state of California, totaling about $52.6 billion altogether in 2013 with $15.1 billion attributable to illicit drugs and the rest to alcohol. The California Department of Public Health estimates that the overall per capita cost for that year was about $4,625 for every citizen.
These were only tangible costs. When factoring in quality of life costs attributed to ailing health and mental trauma, the bill for California’s addiction struggles rose to $172.6 billion.
By breaking these numbers down even further, we can see which substances appear to trouble Californians the most. For instance, more than two thirds of the $12.3 billion lost to medical costs are from alcohol rather than illicit drugs. Alcohol also accounts for more than $17 billion in lost wages, compared with $5.3 billion lost to illicit drugs. While drugs certainly account for high losses, alcohol is clearly the main offender in terms of lost productivity and medical costs, with only public service costs attributed more to drugs than to alcohol.
Drugs and alcohol account for a great deal of crime in California as well. In 2015, according to criminal justice records, there were more than 130,000 counts of misdemeanor DUI, more than 12,000 liquor law violations, and nearly 79,000 counts of public intoxication. There were also more than 163,000 misdemeanor drug offenses and almost 45,000 felony drug offenses, some for marijuana but primarily for other drugs.
It is worth noting that California downgraded many felony drug offenses to misdemeanors in 2014, before which there had been over 130,000 drug-related felonies per year. While the number of drug-related felony offenses technically went down from 2014 to 2015, this significant change in the legal system is largely responsible. The reduction in felony-level arrests does not change the fact that drugs and alcohol continue to create major difficulties for California law enforcement.
Huntington Beach Addiction
Drug statistics for Orange County are among the worst in California, especially along the coast. Police in Huntington Beach seized over 80 pounds of illicit drugs in 2015, a large quantity for the size of the city’s population. This included 10 pounds of heroin and 66 pounds of cocaine. According to the department’s annual report, one investigation was high-profile enough to warrant assistance from the Secret Service.
Huntington Beach also experiences higher rates of emergency room visits and drug-related deaths than many other locations in California. The city was home to a large number of the nearly 7,500 opioid overdose cases in Orange County between 2011 and 2015, a period during which opioids accounted for approximately 70% of drug overdose deaths in the region. Opioid-related emergencies in Huntington Beach have increased approximately two-fold since 2005, with a 141% increase across all of Orange County according to an overdose and death report by the OC Health Care Agency.
California Addiction Treatment
Despite consistently high rates of addiction, as well as addiction-related crimes and health issues, treatment rates remain low. Considering that only 36.9% of Californians received mental health treatment of any kind in 2015, it stands to reason that those suffering from co-occurring disorders are especially neglected. California addiction treatment must reflect the specific nature of the problem, which means that the facts and statistics above must be carefully taken into account.
This means that substance use treatment in California must provide a strong alcohol addiction program, as the economic losses attributed to alcohol speak to a particularly notable problem with heavy drinking among Californians. With opioids accounting for a large percentage of overdoses in Orange County, treatment centers must also focus their programming on large numbers of patients who suffer from either heroin addiction or prescription drug addiction.
California residents who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction can make use of the state’s natural features by seeking one of multiple seaside luxury facilities that offer comprehensive treatment programming. For instance, Aspire Recovery in Huntington Beach offers a wide array of evidence-based and holistic treatment options, combining to form a unique and personalized approach that will serve each client’s particular needs.
Statistics make it clear that drug addicts and alcoholics, while suffering from essentially the same disease, manifest their difficulties in remarkably distinct ways. Only a personalized treatment approach can account for their differences. If you or someone you care about is in need of assistance, it is time to look for a California addiction treatment center that can provide the well-tailored program you need.